DeMontfort Fine Art are delighted to announce that they have secured exclusive access to the Salvador Dali Sculpture Collection in the UK
Spanish artist Dali is one of the most celebrated surrealist artists of the 20th century, made famous for his technical skill, experimental practice and highly unusual subject matter.
In the 1960s, Beniamino Levi (the President of Dali Universe) commissioned Salvador Dalí to produce a series of sculptures based on his most famous imagery for a Surrealist Exhibition at his ’Galleria Levi’ in Milan. Dalí worked directly with Beniamino Levi and later with the Perseo Mendriso Foundry in Switzerland to create these sculptures.
Some of the key sculptures in the collection, such as Homage to Newton, The Horse Saddled With Time, The Space Elephant Woman Aflame were created from plaster or wax sculpture model made by Dalí himself. In many cases, the sculptures are based off an existing 2D ‘maquette’ (such as a painting, drawing or graphic work such as a lithograph or etching). These original maquettes were used as inspiration when producing these works. Dalí provided the concept, but the wax models were not produced by Dalí’s hand. In other cases, for example The ‘Dance of Time’ sculptures, models would be presented to Dalí for his approval and he would make drawings for changes which were then actioned by the foundry until Dalí was pleased with the final result.
Much like Damian Hirst or Jeff Koons, Dalí did not create the physical artworks himself, but he oversaw the initial process which was then continued by a talented artisan at the foundry. Sculptures are always a collaborative process between artist and their foundry, similar to printmaking and how an artist works with the master printmaker at their studio of choice. These editions were cast after his death, but Dalí was alive to see the first sculptures cast from the early 1980s onwards.
These sculptures are created using the lost wax process. This method dates back to 5,000 BC and is utilised by many sculptors working in bronze. For some pieces there is only one edition of each sculpture, however several examples have been cast in two or three different patinas, each with an edition run of 350. Similarly, Dalí also produced the majority of his prints in two separate editions, most usually on two different types of paper: arches wove paper and Japon nacre paper.
Dali Universe has an excellent relationship with Robert and Nicholas Descharnes who are recognised as the preeminent Dali scholars. Robert Descharne was Dali’s secretary for the last years of his life and the author of his US catalogue raisonne. Robert sadly passed in 2014 but his son Nicholas has continued his legacy as Dali’s foremost expert.
Homage to Newton is on view at the Dalí Museum in Figueras, Spain. The Dali Museum in Florida USA (the largest Salvador Dali museum outside Europe) has the complete set of The Salvador Dalí Sculpture Collection. Examples of these sculptures can be found in public museums across the world, including the Vatican Museum Art Collection, Italy; Morohashi Museum of Modern Art, Japan; and Museo Soumaya, Mexico.
There were initially 29 sculptures created in an edition of 350. If these were all cast simultaneously, the foundry would have needed to store 10,150 pieces. Many of these sculptures have two or three patina options, doubling or tripling those numbers. The sculptures are cast in small batches in response to demand since their initial conception.
There is a secondary market for these pieces and they sell regularly at auction, including at Sothebys, Christies and Phillips. You can find the sculptures illustrated in the following publication: Robert and Nicholas Descharnes, Dalí: The Hard and The Soft, Spells for the Magic Form, Sculptures & Objects, Paris, 2004.
At the moment these sculptures are also carried by Bartoux, however once they have sold their remaining stock their contract will not be renewed and DeMontfort Fine Art will be the official UK partner with exclusive rights to sell Dalí sculptures.
View the brochure for the Salvador Dali Sculpture Collection in the UK
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Best wishes Julie and Chris